Abuse comes in many forms: emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Those who have suffered the emotional devastation and pain of abuse of any kind understand that these experiences may remain very present during the course of your life, and are often remembered as traumatic memories. Talking about the shame, guilt, and isolation that comes along with abuse is extremely difficult. Someone who has experienced abuse often feels fearful, anxious and may feel like there is something wrong with them. They may not realize that these feelings could be a result of abuse in the relationship. Over time, abuse can create feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, self-blame, lowered self esteem, powerlessness, loss of security, uncertainty and shame. Counselling can provide support in a safe and caring environment.
An OSI is used to describe a broad range of problems which include diagnosed medical conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as other conditions that may be less severe, but still interfere with daily functioning. Some common reactions are as follows: Feelings of panic or anxiety; avoidance of anything which could serve as a reminder of an event; changes in mood, feeling sad, tearful, hopeless, depressed, angry and/or guilty; difficulty concentrating, disorientation, memory problems; sleep disturbances or excessive alertness; being easily startled; trouble controlling moods; difficulties with relationships; painfully reliving the event (flashbacks and/or nightmares); and intrusive thoughts about the event. Persons considered at an increased risk of developing OSIs include military members, emergency workers and police. These groups are considered vulnerable to extreme work-related traumas including: deliberate acts of violence, physical and sexual abuse, accidents, disaster and/or military action (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person's life. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, and an increase in the fight-or-flight response. These symptoms last for more than a month after the event.